Fire for Fire? HIV Virus Used to Cure Cancer

EmilyWhitehead_2424994bIn a most amazing development, US doctors in Philadelphia said they have saved a seven-year-old girl who was close to dying from leukemia with a pioneering use of a least expected agent – a modified form of the HIV virus! Leukemia is a cancer of the blood cells and it normally starts in the bone marrow.

After fighting her disease with chemotherapy for almost two years and suffering two relapses, Emily Whitehead “faced grim prospects,” doctors at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia had said. So in February this year they agreed to take her on in an experimental program that fought fire with fire. Helped by a genetically altered HIV virus — stripped of its devastating properties that cause AIDS — doctors turned the girl’s own immune cells into a superior force able to rout the “aggressive” leukemia.

Emily’s treatment was one of the very first of its kind and cannot yet be considered “a magic bullet,” the hospital said. But in her case, it apparently worked completely. Initially, millions of the girl’s natural immune system cells were removed. Then the modified HIV virus was used to carry in a new gene that would boost the immune cells and help them spot, then attack cancer cells that had previously been able to sneak in “under the radar,” the hospital said on its website. Finally the rebooted immune cells were sent back in to do their work.

According to the hospital, “The researchers have created a guided missile that locks in on and kills B cells, thereby attacking B-cell leukemia.” Meanwhile, Pediatric oncologist Stephan Grupp, who cared for the girl, explained that there was never any danger of AIDS during the process: “The way we get the new gene into the T cells (immune cells) is by using a virus. This virus was developed from the HIV virus, however all of the parts of the HIV virus that can cause disease are removed… It is impossible to catch HIV or any other infection. What’s left is the property of the HIV virus that allows it to put new genes into cells,” he had said in an email.

However, during the treatment, Emily became very ill and went into the intensive care unit, underlining how risky the procedure can be. But, drugs that partly block the immune reaction were administered, without interfering with the anti-leukemia action, and she recovered, the hospital said. The result was “complete” and best of all, the doctors say, the boosted immune shield continues “to remain in the patient’s body to protect against a recurrence of the cancer.”

“She has no leukemia in her body for any test that we can do — even the most sensitive tests,” Grupp told ABC television. “We need to see that the remission goes on for a couple of years before we think about whether she is cured or not. It is too soon to say.”

Emily was one of a dozen people to have had the treatment. Three adults also had complete remissions, with two of them now clear of cancer for more than two years. Four other adults showed improvements but did not go into complete remission. One child improved but then relapsed, and the treatment did not work for two adults. Researchers said the treatment, which costs about $20,000 for each patient, was in the early stages but they hope it could ultimately replace risky bone marrow transplants.

 

Source: AFP

Tags from the story
aids, cancer, hiv, HIV virus, leukemia, Philadelphia

1 Comment

  • Good morning everyone, my name is Miss Bernille from brazil, i have been suffering from Hiv/Aids for over 4years now, and suddenly, i have spent all my money all to make sure i get healthy all day, but happily, last month january 12th 2013, i came in contact with a traditional doctor also known as a chief priest on a newspaper who is called Dr Olorun Oduduwa who has help much people to cure their aids disease, firstly i taught it was a joke until i contacted him ” ‘olorunoduduwaspiritualtemple@gmail.com’ ” and he said that if i am ready for this work, i told him yes, and he collected my details and told me that after he has finished consulting his oracle he will run back to me on when to go for a medical check up, i was unhealthyling surprise. And truly last week monday dr olorun called me to quickly go for a medical checkup, which i did, only to find out that i was not with any HiV disease anymore, my friends and families who left me before run back to me.
    I now found out that God in Heaven is using this man to bless and heal us all, he is a great and powerful man, again i say to you sir, that God almightly will uplift you and your great work you did for i and other people.
    Pls i will sincerely advice all Hiv patient to contact this great powerful man called Dr Olo RU NOdudu Wa for your solutions now at : ‘Olorunoduduwaspiritualtemple@gmail.com’
    he will help you on your Hiv problems
    email: ‘Olorunoduduwaspiritualtemple@gmail.com’

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *